The word ‘epic', for once, is well-deserved
Last night, Kate Bush performed her first ever show in 35 years since her original 1979 concert – and if early reviews are anything to go by, it wasn't your average triumphalist rock reunion gig. Instead, Bush brought back all of the inventiveness, theatricality and avant-garde genius that characterised her groundbreaking Tour of Life debut. So what went down at Before The Dawn, the culmination of over three decades of waiting? (For the record, we were totally right on the puppets.)
SHE PLAYED MOST OF HER HITS – MINUS ONE
To be fair, Kate Bush could have probably walked onstage, warbled the Whistle Song and people would still have loved it. But the setlist for Before The Dawn was a thing of beauty – she began with "Lily" off The Red Shoes, then hurtled straight into "Hounds of Love", "Joanni", "Top of the City", "Never Be Mine", "Running up that Hill" and "King of the Mountain". "Cloudbursting" served as an encore. Conspicuously left off the list? "This Woman's Work" and "Wuthering Heights", arguably her most famous (and biggest-selling) song.
SHE WASN'T AFRAID TO GET CONCEPTUAL
1979's Tour of Life was critically praised for its experimental staging, and many wondered if Before The Dawn would take a more stripped-back approach. Nope. A drag-on theatre set of a living room, helicoptor search lights, film projections – Bush's theatrical flair came to the fore with the second act of the show. Singing the dreamlike "Ninth Wave" suite from her Hounds of Love album, Bush recreated the sensation of a woman at sea, complete with shipwreck and ice sheets.
IT WAS AMAZING, OBVIOUSLY
Reviews were all unanimous: the show was as audacious, weird and celebratory as everybody hoped it would be. Bush's voice was particularly singled out for praise: over three decades since her last live concert, it's mellowed and deepened – but Bush was still note-perfect throughout.
IF YOU WHIP YOUR PHONE OUT, YOU WILL BE PUNISHED
Bush specifically requested that audience members left their cameras, smartphones and iPads behind, writing on her website: "It would mean a great deal to me if you would please refrain from taking photos or filming during the shows... I know it's a lot to ask but it would allow us to all share in the experience together". To that end, people were actually patrolling the theatre to make sure that nobody was taking photos or filming on the sly. Unfortunately, that didn't stop everybody – a video for "Cloudbursting" has already emerged on YouTube. Watch at your own risk:
BJORK, MADONNA AND GRACE JONES WERE THERE
Björk, Grace Jones and Madonna are all at the Kate Bush concert. It's like a conference for gay icons or something.— Calum S (@CalumSPlath) August 26, 2014
IT WAS A FAMILY AFFAIR
Bush's teenage son, Bertie, was onstage throughout – singing in the backing choir, acting in the sketches and at one point, singing his own solo. In fact, Bush says that the performance would have never happened without him. Writing in the programme, she said: " Without his encouragement and enthusiasm, particularly in the early stages when I was very frightened to commit to pushing the 'go' button, I'm sure I would have backed out. Throughout he has been my chief consultant, my editor, my confidant." Not bad for a 16-year-old.
DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON TWITTER
Especially the rumour that David Bowie was in audience. Or Nick Drake. Or that David Gilmour, Peter Gabriel and Robert Plant all came onstage to jam. That was all the work of comedians like Danny Baker and Michael Legge, who fooled the Mirror, BBC and NPR with their "livetweets" – even if some of them were reeeeeal stretches.
Bowie/Bush doing REALLY obscure Dave Clarke Five song "Because". Of course they are.— Danny Baker (@prodnose) August 26, 2014
PEOPLE CAME FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
People flew from as far away as the US, Japan and Australia for Before The Dawn, with one fan from Los Angeles saying that he'd paid "thousands" to get to London for the Hammersmith Apollo tour. Daren Taylor, drummer for LA band The Airborne Toxic Event, also flew in on the day. "It's not easy to express what Kate Bush means to me," he told the Guardian. "Her music touches me, and I'm sure everybody here, in very unique ways. I don't think any two people will tell you the same thing that her music means to them."
WANT TO SEE HER? YOU'LL HAVE TO PAY A LOT OF MONEY
Even though Bush added additional dates to the show, only 80,500 tickets were available. Some are still available on ticket marketplace Viagogo, but they'll set you back somewhere between £370 and £800. Tickets on Gumtree are being flogged for anywhere between £145 to £1,000.